HEB 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Because we are physical beings living in a very physical environment and universe- and because we presently exist in a time-space world it is incredibly difficult for us to imagine timelessness and non-material reality.
It is hard for us to imagine a reality in which the only reality was S/spiritand the only Spirit was God. And yet, that is exactly where we must go if we ever hope to have even a slight measure of understanding regarding such questions as: Where did the physical/material universe come from? How did it come into being? Where did you- where did I- come from? How did we come into being? How did anything- all things- everything that is- How did it come to be? This single verse of scripture gives us insight into these fundamental questions. For the sake of this presentation I want to bring all of this down to this single theme: “Making the Invisible Visible.” What I share this morning will have application to the whole of our lives but my primary consideration is this: ‘The Appearing of a Building in a Field.’ Let me begin by saying that it is one thing- a very important thing- to see and accept the vision. It is another matter entirely to embrace the process by and in which the vision moves from the invisible realm to the visible. This is always a critical point in any venture of faith. It is the point where faith gets tested and where the heart gets exposed in relation to that faith. We are there right now and I want to speak to that process. I recall one of my grade nine teachers waxing eloquent in propounding Darwinian evolution -in which beginning with modern man, he meticulously worked backward through all the evolutionary steps until he arrived at some kind of chemical soup. I raised my hand and asked what seemed to me a reasonable question: Where did the chemical soup come from; how did it get there- and where exactly was it? The response was that before the chemical soup there was a random collision of gaseous elements- which went BANG- and evidently it was a really BIG BANG. 1 You can imagine what my next question was. You might also imagine that there was no discussion beyond that point. Pretty much any non-biblical explanation of the visible is confined to the known elements of the material universe- be it solids, liquids, or gases. And what this further means is that this explanation of the visible is pretty much confined to the sense realm- that which can be processed within the reality of our senses. And that brings us to the whole realization that our intellect is pretty much structured within that same sense realm in relation to the visible- and that of course, reflects upon the whole realm of science. Science is only as valid as the structures upon which it is based. And the first claim of this text is that when our understanding is limited to the visible- and the senses by which we relate to the visible- our science is compromised right from the get-go. This does not mean that the visible came from nothing- nor is that what Hebrews 11:3 is suggesting. It is merely establishing the fact of what it did not come from- and what it did not come from is the visible. There is a level of understanding that is not determined by nor limited to the intellect that is shaped by and expressed within the sense realm. In other words there is this whole other reality which transcends the visible, and thus takes us far beyond the sense realm. And this other reality brings us into a place of understanding where the intellect is called beyond the structures of the visible, the seen, the material. That other reality is faith; ‘By faith we understand.’ And right there faith and understanding are brought together. And the first thing we learn about faith and the intellect is that faith does not negate our intellect- it simply calls it to function beyond the realm of our senses- in relation to the mere visible. In fact this verse is telling us that until faith is brought into the mix of our understanding we are limited in our knowledge to the visible- and in this place we are divorced from the greater reality of knowing and understanding which has to do with the invisible. Whatever faith does or does not do, it is certain that it makes visible the invisible before it ever becomes visible. Before anything becomes visible 2 externally- it must first become visible internally in the form of a know-so conviction or assurance. HEB 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for , the conviction of things not seen. ‘Things hoped for’ relate to invisible things, for the apostle Paul told us that hope that is seen(externally visible) is no longer hope; and why would we continue to hope for what is seen (externally visible). In other words, the things we hope for do become visible- but not before they appear internally as conviction and assurance. Before they ever become visible externally they already exist in some invisible reality, and at that stage our connection with them is this thing called faith. At that stage of faith I am understanding something- I am seeing or perceiving something- I am comprehending something that cannot be accounted for by things visible nor by the sense realm. In fact for the most part- the visible and the senses will conflict with what I am seeing at this deeper level of faith. So in making the invisible visible- we do not look to the visible. The first question is not-‘What is the measure of our material(visible) resources?’ We do not look to the visible to determine where we are going, what we need to do, and how we are going to do it. And yet for the mind that is tied to the visible- to the sense realm- we are always checking our hand or our pocket in determining what we can and cannot do. 2Co 5:7 We live by faith, not by sight. Every visible thing you can name- including yourself- first existed in that invisible reality of S/spirit. And that is the implication of Hebrews 11:3- ‘What is seen was not made out of things which are visible.’ So let me insert this question right there at the end of that verse: ‘If what is seen was not made out things which are visible- what exactly was it made out of?’ And the answer begins with this- ‘It was made out of the invisible.’ And that leads to the next vital question- ‘How did the invisible become visible?’ How does the invisible become visible in the form of matter, material or substance? And the answer is- ‘the worlds were prepared (framed, structured, formed, fashioned, made visible) by the word of God.’ 3 In the record of creation it is recorded at least eight times that ‘God said and it was.’ It is never correct to say that we along with the material universe came from nothing. What we are told is that the visible did not come from the visiblewhich does not at all mean that there was nothing until there was the visible. This means that there was a time when this entire material universe did not exist, (now here’s the qualification) did not exist in a visible form. The entire visible universe first existed as an invisible reality within the realm of S/spirit- which is to say, it existed within God Himself- within His thought, His purpose, His intention. Here then is the conclusion; making the invisible visible begins with the invisible. And the first manifestation of the invisible is the internal conviction and assurance of what is not yet visible. That conviction is not created by looking at the visible and drawing upon our senses in relation to the visible. If we look to our senses in relation to the visible we will do nothing except maintain the statuesque. We will do nothing except to maintain the visible- and our vision will never be enlarged beyond what is presently seen- presently visible- presently understood and accounted for by the sense realm. The conviction and assurance of which I speak is created by the rehma- the spoken word of the Spirit within our spirit. It is seeing, perceiving, and comprehending beyond the visible and the senses. At this point we are actually seeing the invisible- and this seeing now structures our confession as well as our behaviour. And through this process of confession and behaviour/obedience the invisible conviction and assurance of the faith within becomes visible within this time-space world. Illustration: I do not want to tire you with this story. I, of course, could never tire of it. As most of you know- about eight years ago I went to Haiti to encourage a group of pastors by sharing the word of the Lord with them. In the course of that journey I found a ten year old girl in an orphanage. The very minute my eyes met hers, the God who spoke the invisible universe into visibilityspoke loud and clear into my spirit about something that was totally invisible at that moment. 4 On the basis of that rehma word an invisible hope instantly became internally visible in the form of assurance- and ‘things unseen’ externally became internally visible in the form of conviction. This did not instantly bring into external visibility what was now visible within my spirit. And here is the vital issue in this. What had become visible within my spirit on the basis of the word I heard made no sense within the visible reality of my situation at that time. I was too old to adopt a ten year old little girl, from a very different country, of a very different colour, a very different language, a very different culture. Beyond that the whole idea was pathetic and laughable from a financial point of view- and I am not kidding when I report that. The point is this; had my understanding remained structured by my senses in relation to the visible, (had I been looking to the visible to bring forth the invisible) then what has appeared would have remained invisible- and certainly my wife and I as well as Darline would have lost something incredibly wonderful. When my senses in relation to the visible said it cannot possibly be donemy faith in relation to the invisible did not just say it can be done- rather it said- it is already done- it already exist- it already is established. And as this higher reality shaped our understanding, our confession, the choices we made, and the obedience we walked out- an invisible reality within the S/spirit realm- within the thought, purpose and intention of God became very visible in this time-space world. This same truth applies to ‘making visible’ a building in that field next door; a building which today is invisible in this realm- but which exist in the realm of S/spirit- and which at this stage has become internally visible in the form of the assurance and conviction of faith- based upon the rehma- the word of the Spirit we believe we have heard. All that remains now is walking it out. And this is not done by looking at visible things but by looking unto the One who spoke- the One who is always faithful regarding what He speaks. It is only in responding to the invisible that we encounter the miraculous in the process of its appearing. In doing this, the invisible will become visible and generations yet unborn will be blessed by what was made visible by our faith experience. 5 When we say that we can’t- it indicates a couple of things. First it may indicate we have not heard from God. Or secondly, we have heard from God but are looking to the visible to make it happen- which means our understanding is confined to our senses in relation to the visible. Such a position is far too narrow and limiting for people of true Biblicaltrue Christian faith.